Little Known Twitter Search Commands

September 14th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

Twitter search seems fairly basic, which often leads to people using 3rd party Twitter tools for searching. Most people don’t realize it, but Twitter some handy search command abilities:

Basic Twitter Search Commands (no surprises here):

  • Multi-word queries: if you search multiple words, Twitter’s default search will search tweets containing both (or all words).
    Example: big doggy would find tweets that contain both “big” and “doggy”, but not necessarily the words paired together.
  • Exact match queries: if you use quotes, you can limit tweet searches to exact matches.
    Example: “big doggy” would find tweets that contain the exact phrase “big doggy”.
  • OR queries: if you are looking for two related or interchangable words, OR queries work well.
    Example: dog OR doggy would find tweets that contain either words.
  • Hash Tag queries: Hash tags used to be one of the only methods of putting a stamp on your tweet to help those searching in Twitter, but they not as critical these days as Twitter search has improved. Regardless, people still use hash tags (#), especially when attending events or joining in on a meme
    Example: #ff would find tweets that contain #ff (which stands for Follow Friday).
  • At queries: when referencing someone on Twitter, you use @ (at reply), so it makes sense you can search for people doing so.
    Example: @webconnoisseur would find tweets reference me.
  • Question queries: target tweets that ask a question.
    Example: web designer ? would most likely find tweets of people looking for web designers.

Advanced Twitter Search Commands:

  • Combining queries: You can combine queries to really nail down what you are looking for.
    Example: “seattle startup” OR “seattle start-up” OR “@seattle20″ combines the simple search commands listed above and would be an excellent way to find tweets related to startups in Seattle.
  • From and To queries: You can actually target tweets that are specifically sent to or from someone.
    Example: “from:GregBoser” “to:Graywolf” would show me tweets Greg Boser sent to Michael Gray. If you perform a query like this, Twitter will also include a link that will allow you to see the entire conversation, if there is one.
  • Exclude queries: You can specify words you don’t want to see in your query.
    Example: hello -kitty would show me hello tweets, but exclude tweets that are reffering to hello kitty or someone saying hello to their kitty on twitter (trust me, you want to stay away from these people).
  • Location queries: You can actually limit tweets by location.
    Example: beer near:Seattle within:15mi would show me beer tweets written within 15 miles of Seattle

    Note: it isn’t entirely accurate as it appears to go off the location the person has listed in their profile, which isn’t always where they are at the time.
  • Date-based queries: You can actually limit tweets by date, both before (use “since:”) or after (use “until:”).
    Example: techcrunch since:2009-09-12 until:2009-09-13 would show me tweets about TechCrunch over the weekend on September 12th or 13th
  • Attitudinal queries: Some Twitter users incorporate happy or sad faces into their tweets. You can search these to find attitudes about topics.
    Example: cloudy with a chance of meatballs :) would show me people who were happy to go see or enjoyed the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
  • Source queries: probably one of the least useful queries unless you want to research a 3rd party tool’s adoption, you can do query searches by tweet software source.
    Example: LOL source:tweetdeck would show me LOL tweets that came from someone using tweedeck.
  • Link filtered queries: a great way to track down referenced links, this query will limit Twitter searches to tweets that contain links.
    Example: mashable filter:links would show me people’s tweets linking to Mashable articles.
  • Jumping forward in older searches if you are hunting for something via Twitter search and want to save yourself from clicking “older” over and over, you can change the page number (after your first older click) in the Twitter URL to jump forward.
    Example: http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=3984008800&page=2&q=fight&rpp=20 is the result I get after searching fight in search.twitter.com and clicking on older once. To jump further back in time and skip a bunch of tweets, I can go up to the browser URL box and change the page=2 portion to page=35 to jump straight to page 35.

Hope you find these Twitter search commands useful. If you know of others, or would like to share your example uses, please leave a comment.

Posted in Search, Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (4)

GoDaddy Twitter Relationship

August 5th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

Just over a month ago, I was shocked when I was force-fed a twitter screen takeover while looking at my domain names registered at GoDaddy. Immediately, I did some news searches to see if GoDaddy had purchased Twitter because it seemed very out of place. There were no such announcements. In fact, there was very little news about this development.

GoDaddy Twitter IntegrationEvery time I’m in my account tweaking my domains, I can’t help but notice the twitter promotion overload. I can’t help but wonder why GoDaddy would take such a keen interest in helping to fuel more twitter accounts. From a service perspective, it is pretty lame because it is already incredibly easy to check name availability and sign up for twitter. I could think of a hundred other features GoDaddy should build and promote instead. If it were a two-way arrangement, where Twitter promotes domain registration for Twitter user names, then I could see the benefit.

So why do you suppose GoDaddy is pimping Twitter so much? Is GoDaddy going to buy Twitter? Is Twitter paying GoDaddy for this treatment? Is GoDaddy’s product development team overly caught up with Twitter & group-think led them to believe this add on would separate them from other registrars? I have no idea, but it will be interesting to watch this over time.

Here are more screenshots showing how much GoDaddy is pimping out Twitter within their domain dashboards:

GoDaddy Twitter promo

Why is GoDaddy Pimping Twitter

GoDaddy Twitter name check feature

Posted in Domaining, General, Reputation Management, Twitter, Web | Comments (6)

LinkedIn Benefits from Unemployment

July 31st, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

If you think about it, LinkedIn is a natural beneficiary from massive layoffs. Upon being laid off, here are some user activities LinkedIn might not see otherwise:

  • Status updates to let others know about layoff
  • Recommendation requests to co-workers
  • Recommendations for co-workers
  • Profile updates and employment history updates
  • Status updates about job seeking
  • LinkedIn personal network job searches
  • Contact info lookups to find names & phone numbers to fill out unemployment benefits job search logs
  • Network inbox emails to ask for help with employment

Outside the unemployment-related activities I list above, there are, of course, many other activities that you might see even in healthy job markets like looking up potential bosses, researching organizations, growing network, Q&A activity, etc.

LINKEDIN UNEMPLOYMENT CORRELATIONS
The numbers don’t lie: LinkedIn certainly benefits from this increase in activity and the activity is well-documented. In terms of pageviews, LinkedIn went from 272 million pageviews in March ’08 to 872 million pageviews in March ’09 (252% growth according to Compete.com data).

Not only does an increase of unemployment catapult activity (as measured by pageviews), it also greatly benefits reach (as measured by uniques). Check the graph below that I created that shows LinkedIn uniques visitor growth and the unemployment rate for the past two years:

LinkedIn Unemployment

Posted in General, Reputation Management, Social Networking | Comments (0)

Do You Follow Google’s No-Follow Recommendations?

June 16th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

After attending SMX Advanced (or listening in), then reading Matt’s post about no-following, many SEOs, both beginning and advanced, are running around like chicken’s with their heads cut off, scrambling to decide what to do.

The more we pin Matt down on no-follow, the more confusing things become. If you were to read Matt’s post and overreact, you might remove all your no-follows including on blog comments, turning your site into an over-crawled (spiders visiting areas they shouldn’t) and over-spammed site (users dropping tons of links in comments).

Or, if you are a bit more savvy, you might start blocking comments on your blog, iframing your footer links site-wide, or dissallowing linking on all UGC.

The key with any exposed change is to wait until the dust settles and SEOs test & share their results. If you have been using no-follows appropriately, you shouldn’t have much reason to change them now. Matt says these changes have been in place for a year, but I know for some borderline abusers of pagerank sculpting, the more noticable changes took place the past couple months.

External linking is where the greatest mistakes will be made. I would recommend against assuming Matt’s advice to stop using no-follow applies to external links as he appears to be speaking mostly about internal linking practices. I’ve asked him to clarify his stance on external linking because there are a lot of reasons why Google would prefer to heed your external no-follow instructions.

What should you do? For now, I recommend sitting tight.

Posted in Search, User Generated Content | Comments (6)

NYT Sets Low Bar for Social Media Expert

May 26th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

Read this piece on Valleywag today about the New York Times hiring their first-ever Social Media Editor.

Here’s the NYT description of their social media editor:

One of the bracing things about this topsy-turvy media landscape is that you can wake up one morning and find yourself actually doing something you never thought you’d even think about. Take Jennifer Preston. In 25 years in the news biz, she’s been plenty of things: Reporter (cop shop, City Hall, Albany, etc.), editor (political editor, section editor, administrative editor, etc.) and even circulation marketing manager (at New York Newsday). But still, did she ever think she’d wake up one morning as “social media editor”?

No, she didn’t but yes, she did. That morning was this one.

Jennifer is our first social media editor. What’s that? It’s someone who concentrates full-time on expanding the use of social media networks and publishing platforms to improve New York Times journalism and deliver it to readers.

…She will help us get comfortable with the techniques, share best practices and guide us on how to more effectively engage a larger share of the audience on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Digg, and beyond.

Knowing the NYT has the 2nd most popular Twitter following and a great number of journalists with accounts on Twitter, I thought it would be interesting to check out who Jennifer Preston is and if I knew her from past social media events I have attended.

Turns out her Twitter account was locked, according to Valleywag. Looks like she opened it up to the public in response to the article, but she had yet to post her first tweet. I looked around for a non-NYT account for her, but didn’t find any. One place I looked was Linked in. I was shocked to see she only had 13 connections (especially for someone who works for a large publisher).

NYT social media editor

I tweeted my findings, which may have spurred her to post her first tweets (she now has 3). From my perspective, she’s got less experience with twitter, digg, youtube, blogging, etc. than any college intern I’ve ever worked with.

Either the New York Times is trying this as an experiment, or they have effectively set a very low bar for what is considered a social media expert.

Posted in Reputation Management, Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (1)

Goodbye GeoCities

April 30th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

As lame and as stale as many of their sites were, I still faintly remember the first GeoCities site I created in ’96 or ’97. I wish I could dig it up, but I have no idea what happened to it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it were one of their better sites ;)

Yahoo announced they’ll be closing it with no buyer, just 10 years after they bought it for $3 billion. It’s really sad Yahoo didn’t improve the service and keep up with the times.

For those who still have Geocities sites they care about, check out the Free Geocities Migration services Wetpaint has offered up.

Geocities

Posted in Web | Comments (0)

How to Make Money Using Twitter

March 31st, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

Can’t believe how many people scratch their heads trying to figure out how to make money using twitter when the formula is so incredibly simple. If you fall into this camp, let me share a little secret with you…

How to Make $$$ Using Twitter:

Follow these simple steps.

1. Open up your twitter account
2. Click on the dialog box to create a post.
3. Hold down your shift button on your keyboard.
4. While holding the shift button, carefully click on the 4 button exactly three times.

Congrats! You’ve successfully made $$$ on Twitter. Now go tell your friends that @webconnoisseur showed you how to make money using this easy tweet this link.

Posted in Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (87)

Days in the Month Bias for Web Analytics

March 2nd, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

One variable often overlooked that causes fluctuation in Month over Month analysis in Web Analytics data (and I suppose other sets of data) is days in the month. February is a prime example where you go from 31 days in January to only 28 in February (except leap years) resulting in an apparent 9.7% loss in traffic.

Below is a chart of assuming steady traffic, meaning the exact same amount of traffic every day for the entire year. See how wildly it swings purely due to the number of days in the month? This is important to keep in mind if you are using M/M analytics.

Days in Month Bias for Web Analytics

Use the below numbers as a reference to better understand the month-by-month day count analytics bias to help you better explain your monthly reports:

  • January: 0.00%
  • February: 9.68% loss (6.45% loss during leap year)
  • March: 10.71% gain (6.90% gain during leap year)
  • April: 3.23% loss
  • May: 3.33% gain
  • June: 3.23% loss
  • July: 3.33% gain
  • August: 0.00%
  • September: 3.23% loss
  • October: 3.33% gain
  • November: 3.23% loss
  • December: 3.33% gain

One other variable that may be overlooked is the line-up of days in the month. For some this may be the number of weekends in the month, for others it may be the number of Mondays.

Posted in Analytics | Comments (8)

What Twitter Users Want

February 18th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

Sometimes when I use Twitter, I feel like I’m Mel Gibson in the movie What Women Want. Sounds random, but stay with me here…

In What Women Want, Mel Gibson’s character can hear the thoughts of all the women around him. Sometimes the chatter is information overload and it drives Mel crazy, other times he can harness the information he’s gained and put it to good use.

Twitter is much like the voices in Mel’s head in the movie, only the voices come from other Twitter users who are predominantly online marketers, consultants, and pr professionals. If you follow too many people, you will go insane. If you follow or surround yourself with the right people, you will gain valuable insights.

It’s important to know what your goals are with Twitter. Is it tapping into the minds of fellow marketers? Or maybe a particular segment? Are you looking to join a certain conversation? Whatever your goal is, make sure the majority of the people you follow match that goal.

What Women Want Twitter

If you’d like to add one more voice in your head, follow me @webconnoisseur.

Posted in Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (2)

25 Things

February 12th, 2009
by Dustin Woodard

If you are on Facebook and haven’t had the pleasure of reading a 25 Random Things About Me note about one of your friends yet, you are missing out. Normally not a fan of chain letters or tagging memes, I will admit the 25 Things activity on Facebook is fascinating.

History of Facebook 25 Things Notes
Facebook notes were launched on August 22, 2006, but didn’t receive heavy usage until 2009 thanks to a new viral phenomenon that started off as “25 Random Things About Me.” Memes using notes on Facebook are nothing new, entire websites have been put together to catalog and inspire various memes-most as lame as the emails that have been going around for over a decade.

The Velocity of 25 Things
The earliest entries I can find via various search tools for 25 Things is mid-January. I really saw it taking off in my personal network starting in February. Using Google trends, I compared 25 Things searches to searches for an older site people might be familiar with: 43 Things.

25 Things Chart

As you can tell from the chart, 25 things searches increased rapidly, easily overshadowing 43 Things despite the fact that users won’t find Facebook notes entries doing this search, nor will they find definitive information about the origins of it.

How to Find 25 Things Notes
If you do want to find all your friends 25 things postings, I suggest you follow these steps:

1. Login to Facebook and make sure you are on the main page (click Home if you are not sure).
2. Click the drop down arrow for more feeds (blue arrow next to live feed button)
3. Choose notes.
4. Scroll down and you will likely see activity around 25 Things postings.
5. Click show more posts at the very bottom if you want to look for more postings.

Facebook 25 Things Learnings
There are things we can all learn from Facebook’s 25 Things success:

  • Patience is important in business. Facebook could have easily scrapped notes long ago due to low activity.
  • Never underestimate user-generated content.
  • Viral successes are often luck
  • Providing a platform where UGC viral successes can happen is important

I noticed a lot of people commenting on how Facebook didn’t make sense to them until they started reading other people’s 25 Things posts – this simple meme has created an amazing amount of value for Facebook and their traffic reflects it:

Facebook 25 Things

Posted in Reputation Management, Search, Social Networking, User Generated Content, Web | Comments (2)